Thursday, December 20, 2018

Guard the Life of the Spirit Within You

Redeemer sanctuary
I take time every week to get alone and be with God. I write about this in Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God. I've spent forty years teaching pastors and Christian leaders about spending much time with God, as a way of life. 

Without this, we burn out.

Maintaining a Consumer/Entertainment Church quenches the flame of a pastor's first love. Henri Nouwen is one who wrote about this, warned us of it, and showed us the way out. 

I'm re-reading Nouwen's The Way of the Heart, for at least the third time, in my praying times with God. Nouwen draws on Scripture and the Desert Fathers as he calls us to a deep, abiding life. 

Today, I read this, from Nouwen.

"What needs to be guarded is the life of the Spirit within us. Especially we who want to witness to the presence of God’s Spirit in the world need to tend the fire within with utmost care. It is not so strange that many ministers have become burnt-out cases, people who say many words and share many experiences, but in whom the fire of God’s Spirit has died and from whom not much more comes forth than their own boring, petty ideas and feelings. Sometimes it seems that our many words are more an expression of our doubt than of our faith. It is as if we are not sure that God’s Spirit can touch the hearts of people: we have to help him out and, with many words, convince others of his power. But it is precisely this wordy unbelief that quenches the fire. 
Our first and foremost task is faithfully to care for the inward fire so that when it is really needed it can offer warmth and light to lost travelers." (Nouwen, The Way of the Heart)